** GOING TO CALIFORNIA -- The American Le Mans Series season is winding down, and the series will make its final western appearance of the year on Sunday, September 9, with the running of the Monterey Sports Car Championships, Presented by Mazda,...
** GOING TO CALIFORNIA -- The American Le Mans Series season is winding down, and the series will make its final western appearance of the year on Sunday, September 9, with the running of the Monterey Sports Car Championships, Presented by Mazda, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The two-hour, 45-minute race will be the third in a four-week period for the series. Since returning to action in North America in late July, the series will have held five races in eight weeks by the time the race ends at Monterey, a brutal schedule by sports car racing standards.
Following the Mazda Raceway event, the series will have almost a month off to prepare for the Oct. 6 Audi Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the 2001 season finale.
The event at Mazda Raceway will be televised live in the United States by NBC Sports, with live coverage by the American Le Mans Series Radio Web available online at www.americanlemans.com.
GULF AUDI TO COMPETE AT LAGUNA, PETIT -- The beautiful Gulf Audi of Stefan Johansson will compete in the final two rounds of the 2001 American Le Mans Series season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta.
Former Formula One driver Johansson debuted the car earlier this year in the 12 Hours at Sebring, then took the racing team to Europe for the European Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Having secured the inaugural ELMS title, Johansson has returned the team to the United States for the Laguna and Atlanta events.
Frenchman Patrick Lemarie will partner with Johansson in the two races. The 33-year-old BAR Formula One test driver has driven with Sweden's Johansson in three races, including an ELMS victory at the Most circuit in the Czech Republic.
Johansson's Audi R8 is painted in the powder blue and orange Gulf colors that were made famous by Steve McQueen in the 1970 movie "Le Mans." The car has been a popular attraction everywhere it has been this year.
The Audi R8, its transporter and a supply truck left Liverpool, England, by ship on August 16 for the 12,000-mile round trip. The ship is due to arrive in New York on Wednesday and the transporter will then set off on the 3,000-mile trip across the USA to Monterey, Calif.
After the Sept. 9 race, at which team sponsor Brocade will have a presence, the transporter will then drive back across the USA to Georgia for the Oct. 6 Audi Petit Le Mans. After that race, it will return to New York for its journey back to England.
ALL-CALIFORNIA TEAM SET FOR LAGUNA -- A racing team consisting of four drivers from California and two cars based in California will compete in the Sept. 9 Monterey Sports Car Championships for the American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Racer's Group, based in Sonoma, Calif., will field a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 machines in the Laguna event, competing in the ALMS GT class.
Kevin Buckler of Sonoma, Calif., who has been a semi-regular ALMS competitor in all three years of the series' existence, will team with Tyler McQuarrie of Walnut Creek, Calif., in the #66, which is a GT3 RS Porsche. The #67 car, which is a GT3 R, will be co-driven by Robert Orcutt of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Tony Colicchio of Berkeley, Calif.
The team ran a similar lineup in the ALMS event held in July at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, though Colicchio did not participate in that event. The Monterey race will be his first in the series.
MAGNUSSEN, MAASSEN RACING IN EUROPE -- After competing in last weekend's American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio, ALMS drivers Jan Magnussen and Sascha Maassen boarded planes for Europe to prepare for races they will compete in this weekend.
Magnussen, who has a residence in Georgia but is from Denmark, returned to his home country to compete in a Danish touring car race this weekend. He comes home as a conquering hero, having co-driven with David Brabham to wins in two of the last three ALMS races in the Panoz LMP-1 Roadster.
Maassen has been competing as often as possible in the Porsche Supercup Series. The German missed the most recent race in Budapest because of a conflict with the ALMS, but will be able to compete in this weekend's race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Maassen was the fastest qualifier in the GT class in last weekend's ALMS race at Mid-Ohio, driving the Alex Job Racing/McKenna Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
** MINI LE MANS COMING TO SAN JOSE -- As has become a tradition when the American Le Mans Series races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the downtown area of nearby San Jose, Calif., will be the site for the "Mini Le Mans" event on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Cars from the ALMS and other series racing that weekend will do parade laps around Cesar Chavez Park beginning at noon, and will then be on display as drivers meet fans and sign autographs. The event has been very popular the past two years, with many race fans making plans to come out and see the cars and drivers. In addition, many downtown workers visit the event during their lunch breaks.
The Monterey Sports Car Championships, Presented by Mazda, will be held at the raceway on Sunday, Sept. 9.
** DRIVERS TO RACE AGAINST FANS, MEDIA IN SAN JOSE -- Drivers from the American Le Mans Series and the Trans-Am Series will be at the Speedring indoor karting facility in San Jose on Wednesday, Sept. 5, to both race and meet fans.
The Speedring has a wide, quarter-mile go-kart course, and the professional drivers will compete against members of the San Jose-area media from 5-6 p.m. After that, race fans in attendance will have their chance to race against the drivers from 6-8 p.m.
Similar events at karting facilities were held in conjunction with recent ALMS races at Portland and Mosport and they have been popular with drivers, fans and media.